Pilot study on Webcams for home care begun overseas

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The Netherlands government and two Dutch healthcare providers, Amicon and Sensire, have started a three-year trial of a $6 million online nurse pilot project, according to the Associated Press. The CamCare project is a live audio and video link between a nurse and 700 home-care patients. It could be the new wave of the future and help keep seniors out of more rigid, institutional care, researchers said.

The point is to provide people confined to their homes to get medical advice without the expense of having a healthcare worker visit them in person. And it's happening in the eastern Dutch province of Gelderland -- for free for the trial.
 
Patients can connect to a clinic whenever they feel sick by pushing a button, launching the Webcam. Their medical records appear on the nurse's screen at the same time. The nurse asks a series of questions before deciding whether to dispatch help or simply tell the patient what to do. One provider hopes the service can be offered for less than $24 per month eventually.
 
Facing a rapidly aging population and skyrocketing healthcare costs, the Netherlands' government set aside subsidies last year to stimulate innovations in the health sector and find ways to cut spending. The Dutch population aged 65 years or older will nearly double from by 2020, much like the United States' demographics.